Many corporations have come out against the Georgia voter law. If they had read the bill, they would know that the bill allows for common-sense voter ID verification, increases the number of days ballot boxes are open, and allows ballot workers to give water etc. to voters.
These points seem to have been missed by the Coca-Cola Corp. and Major League Baseball.
But can we really blame the corporations for following their self-interest? As long as the Democratic Party has control of the federal government and the national culture, corporations will follow the Democratic narrative.
So what should conservatives be doing in our current climate? Our failure is not in expecting corporations to stay out of politics but in allowing a few companies to gain so much market share that they feel confident enough to enter politics with no concern for the consequences. These companies are not worried about losing their market share of customers or their market share of support from politicians.
The fact that companies are big enough to ignore the market when making decisions shows a failure in our current economic system. Proper free-market capitalism rules dictate that companies should not be allowed to gain too much market share because then they start to bend the rules and frameworks of the market.
This allows them to do things differently from other, smaller, participants. In the same way that a football game no longer serves all the players, when two to three players have bought out the rest of the team, free markets no longer serve the middle class when two or three corporations have bought out most of the rest of their market.
What is the conservative solution to this issue? Conservatives have not always supported big business.
The root driving force of conservatism has always been individual liberty. Since the 1960s and President Johnson’s Great Society, which saw a massive expansion in federal government activity, the greatest threat to individual liberty in America has been a big federal government in DC. This opposition to a big federal government, naturally led conservatives to support its polar opposite, private enterprise, instead.
This has been the general understanding and mindset of the conservatism movement for the past 50 years.
Now in 2021, we are witnessing another shift. The threat to individual liberty comes not only from big government but also big business.
You see this happening in almost every industry, where two to four companies, control most of their respective market. Three companies issue 95% of all credit cards. Four companies operate 70% of all airline flights. Two companies produce 90% of the beer. Top two health insurance companies have 80-90% of the market in most states. The list goes on.
When companies accrue that much power, they, just like a big federal government, also become a threat to individual liberty and freedom. Companies with that much market power and share, have the power to set wages, hours, location of work, beneficiary cities, and our general societal culture. The fact that most of our markets are dominated by a few companies is why it feels like our society now lives to work, instead of works to live. It’s also why so many middle-class families feel like they are on a financial treadmill even after they have done all the “right” things.
The solution is simple. The last time this happened in American society, Republicans, the party of freedom under Teddy Roosevelt, worked to bust up big corporations. They did this not from a place of disdain for big business, but to restore the principles of free-market capitalism.
We fought against big corporations, not to punish success, but to restore balance to private enterprise and to give a level playing field to small and big businesses. If Republicans in D.C. truly believe in individual freedom, they will once again start working towards an actual version of free-market capitalism. Not this version of crony-capitalism we currently have that results in socialism for the big and powerful, and libertarianism for everyone else.
Aditya Atholi graduated from Center High School and Rice University. He has worked at the local, state, and federal levels of government. He is a former Marine artillery officer who lives and works in East Texas as a roughneck.